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December 19, 2012

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Giant aquarium bursts, injures 15 at Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall

A LARGE, 33.5-ton aquarium burst late yesterday in a busy shopping center on the pedestrian mall on Nanjing Road E., injuring 15 people, including customers and shop staff.

One male customer, in his 30s, was hit by falling glass and had broken bones in his leg. Others had cuts and bruises.

Three sharks raised inside the 7-meter-long, 3-meter-high aquarium, on the first floor of the Orient Shopping Center, died in the incident about 7:50pm.

Local police and work safety authorities said the cause of the accident was under investigation.

Eight of the injured were believed to be customers while the rest shop assistants and security staff. The aquarium was built about two years ago.

Several cosmetics counters along the aquarium on the inside of the center were damaged and water flooded the pedestrian street. Wreckage of the aquarium and the dead sharks, about 30 to 40 centimeters long, remained until staff picked them up.

"It just suddenly broke and fell off," said an injured man, surnamed Li. He was hit by a falling metal frame.

Witnesses said some of the injured managed to stand up and call for help while some shopping center workers were carried out by their colleagues.

Most of the injured were in the center at the time while a man was knocked down while walking on the street outside.

Chen Yongping, an official with the shopping center management, said yesterday that the aquarium was made of acrylic glass.

It was about 15 centimeters thick.

"Water-changing and maintenance work is done on the aquarium each week," said Chen.

The center condoned off the area and asked customers to leave. It is scheduled to be closed by 10pm each day.

The aquarium was a popular attraction when it opened before the National Day holiday two years ago, with sharks, turtles and other sea creatures.

This June, two sharks in the aquarium died after a water pipe broke. Four turtles were shifted out of the aquarium after the June incident, said the local fishing management administration.

"We will not build an aquarium again in the future," said Chen.


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